Florida Nears 380,000 COVID-19 Cases, While State's Death Toll Continues to Rise

The 139 new confirmed deaths - the second-largest one-day increase recorded by the state - brought the state's death toll to 5,345.

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What to Know

  • Florida reported more than 9,700 new cases Wednesday, bringing the state's total to nearly 380,000
  • The state reported 139 new virus-related resident deaths, bringing the death toll to 5,345 since the outbreak began
  • Miami-Dade and Broward combined accounted for nearly 36% of Tuesday's new cases

Wednesday’s batch of coronavirus data includes some good signs for Florida. The share of tests that came back positive Tuesday plunged to 13.5 percent for all tests — the lowest rate in nearly a month.

With 9,785 new coronavirus related cases, Florida's total reached 379,619, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Health.

While those leading indicators — case growth and positivity rate — are improving, the lagging indicator of deaths continues to grow at a rapid pace.

The 139 new confirmed deaths - the second-largest one-day increase recorded by the state - brought the state's death toll to 5,345.

When people who previously tested positive are removed from the positivity rate calculation, the “new case” rate also fell substantially yesterday to 10.6 percent. As with the all-test rate, that’s the lowest since June 24.

Deaths, though, continue to be confirmed at record pace — 118 a day over the Last week. About a third of those deaths announced today occurred a week or more ago, as they are delayed until the deaths are confirmed as being related to the virus.

Statewide, more than 3,158,741 people have been tested for COVID-19, and more than 22,243 hospitalizations for COVID-19 have been reported in Florida to-date.

In Miami-Dade County, the state's most populous and the current epicenter of the outbreak, there were 2,788 new coronavirus cases reported Wednesday, pushing the county's total to 92,345.

Miami-Dade officials announced on Tuesday that the county would be changing the way it calculates and reports the rate of positive test results.

For months, the county was reporting a higher rate than the state, which elected leaders said complicated their decision on whether to order additional restrictions and business closures.

“We have been trying to get to the bottom of that discrepancy for a while now,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said.

County officials met with state health officials on Monday to go over the information the state uses to determine the county’s positive rate for new cases. The state’s reporting did not include retests of anyone who had previously tested positive for the virus.

The county, however, was reporting all results, including retests.

In Broward County, 1,170 new COVID-19 cases brought the county's total to 43,747. Miami-Dade and Broward combined accounted for 36% of Wednesday's new cases.

Palm Beach County had 27,506 cases, and Monroe County had 978.

Miami-Dade County is changing the way it's reporting virus data. NBC 6's Carlos Suarez reports.

While hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise across the state, on Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis sought to calm fears that some health systems will be unable to handle the load of patients.

DeSantis told reporters at a state capitol news conference that hospital admissions and the percentage of tests coming back positive seem to be plateauing or declining in much of the state and that hospitals have sufficient capacity in their intensive care units and overall.

“The trend is much better today than it was two weeks ago,” DeSantis said. “I am confident that we will get through this. I am confident that the folks ... in our hospital systems will continue to do a great job and meet the demand. There is a lot of anxiety and fear out there and I think we are going to be able to get through it. We are not there yet.”

COVID-19 By The Numbers

Click here for a visual look at the virus' impact across the state.

Dr. Stanley Marks, chief medical officer for Memorial Healthcare System in Broward County, said Florida's rising daily death rate shows “we're not beating this disease yet.” He said Floridians need to do a better job of isolating themselves when they can, wearing masks when they can't and washing their hands frequently.

“I’m concerned about my fellow Floridians that sometimes I see out doing things that just don’t make any sense in the middle of a pandemic,” he said. “We have got to get our fellow citizens to understand it’s up to them to help control this disease. Right now there is no magical medical bullet.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis is expressing confidence that Florida will soon contain its coronavirus outbreak and that hospitals can handle the current influx of patients.

DeSantis said he feared some patients suffering possible heart attacks, strokes and other medical emergencies would not go to the hospital because they were afraid of contracting the virus.

“COVID is very important but COVID is just one aspect of the overall health care system and the health needs of Floridians," he said.

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